Rangers, Celtic and City keep pace at the top as Glasgow says farewell to a SWPL legend

The top three all maintained their 100% record in the SWPL this week, as Glasgow City bid a tearful farewell to their retiring striker Clare Shine

Glasgow City legend Clare Shine has retired from football. Cr: SNS Group
Glasgow City legend Clare Shine has retired from football. Cr: SNS Group

The Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) got back to business this weekend after a disrupted couple of weeks, though the league’s front-runners carried on very much where they had left off.

Its been a perfect start for last season’s top three of Rangers, Glasgow City and Celtic that has saw each club take maximum points in the SWPL – and there was no change to proceedings this week as all three picked up important wins.

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However, the big headline this week came at Glasgow City’s Petershill Park, with the surprise news that Irish striker and Scottish Women’s football legend Clare Shine was to retire from the game aged 27.

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The Irish international was part of the City line-up for the final time as Eileen Gleeson’s side dismantled Eva Olid’s improving Hearts side 2-0 thanks to goals from Jenna Clark (12) and Lauren Davidson (66), though the result seemed secondary at an emotional Petershill.

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Shine, one of the club’s all time top goalscorers, has enjoyed a glittering career with the 15-time Scottish Champions that has saw her help the club reach the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League, while she etched her name into Glasgow City history with a outstanding last minute solo goal that won the club the Scottish Women’s Cup in 2019.

In an emotional statement released via her social media account on Thursday, Shine said:

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Rangers' Kayla McCoy was on the scoresheet again in a 4-0 victory over Motherwell (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“As athletes we always have high standards and push ourselves to the limit every time we step out onto the pitch. I have given football everything I have for the last 22 years, incredible highs abut also intense lows. Throughout the last few years I have struggled both mentally and physically to reach the demands as a professional footballer and with that I have decided it's time for me to put myself first and step away from football.

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Shine “one of the best decisions” chief executive ever made

"My happiness and well-being needs to come first and I'm excited to begin the next chapter of my life.

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"I would like to thank everyone who has played a part in my incredible journey as a footballer and who have supported me through the good and the bad, I am proud of everything I have achieved, and I am looking forward to new beginnings and setting new goals. Thank you for everything."

Celtic's Clarissa Larisey was once again on the scoresheet (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
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Glasgow City founder and chief executive Laura Montgomery described the 27-year-old as “one of the best decisions I have ever made,” adding that Shine was one of “a small a number of players who have completely embodied every single aspect of Glasgow City.”

Later in the day, Rangers responded to their midweek Champions League disappointment with a routine 4-0 win over Motherwell.

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A first half opener from Lizzie Arnot was complimented by strikes from Kirsty Howat, Brogan Hay and Kayla McCoy in the second half to help the reigning champions stay top of the pile of goal difference.

Rangers demolish Motherwell, as Celtic continue impressive form

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Meanwhile Celtic’s long trip to Aberdeen proved to be a worthwhile one as Fran Alonso’s side put in another excellent display.

Canadian winger Clarissa Larisey was once again at the forefront as she opened the scoring on the half hour mark, and while the Hoops continued to dominate, they were forced to wait until the final quarter of the game to seal the victory.

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Goals from Jacynta and Lucy Ashworth-Clifford within a minute of each other cemented a deserved 3-0 win at the Balmoral Stadium.

In the capital, Hibs and Spartans shared a 2-2 Edinburgh derby draw. Goals from Liana Hinds and Nor Mustafa had twice handed Dean Gibson’s Hibs side the lead, but they were pegged back twice by Spartans. The draw leaves Spartans in fifth, while Hibs remain seventh.

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Dundee United continued their solid start to life in the top tier by defeating Hamilton 3-2 at Gussie Park. A 69th minute goal from striker Robyn Smith helped United to their second win of the campaign and kept them sixth.

Elsewhere, Brian Graham’s Partick Thistle side will be relieved to have picked up their first victory of the season as they smashed Glasgow Women 8-1 to move into 10th place.

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Sadly for their newly promoted opponents though, the defeat leaves them rooted to the foot of the table after six consecutive defeats.